Physical Signs of Opioid Addiction
The Opioid Crisis has caused thousands of people to lose their lives due to opiate addiction and abuse. It is a good idea to be aware of the physical signs of opioid addiction, for your own sake or a loved one’s. If you believe you might be addicted to an opioid, call 614-502-6247 to seek help today.
An opioid is a type of medicine that is highly addictive. When opioids were first prescribed to patients, their purpose was to relieve pain. As recently as the 1990s, it was common practice to define an opiate after surgeries, cancer treatment, and even toothaches after dental work. Soon it became clear that patients were misusing these medicines due to their addictive qualities. When an opioid enters the body, it decreases the pain signals that your brain is receiving from your body.
Opioids are safe when used correctly and are helpful for major surgical procedures. However, they are addictive because when they block the brain’s pain receptors, they are also releasing dopamine. Dopamine is a reward chemical involved in how our minds understand and experience pleasure. An excess release of dopamine can produce a ‘high’ or ‘euphoric’ experience. Thus, many patients start taking medicine to feel high rather than for its intended purpose. The continued excess release of dopamine will teach the brain to want the drug more and more, leading eventually to full-blown addiction.
Different Forms of Opioids
The main substance in opioids is opium. It is a milky fluid extracted from certain types of poppies, from which experts have created a wide variety of different drugs.
Call our experts today if you have an addiction to opioids. Also, call us today if you suspect someone in your life is abusing this drug. We can work together and find the right treatment option for the current situation.
There are common physical signs of opiate abuse and addiction. If you or someone you know has become dependent on an opioid, it is called an opioid use disorder. Your brain starts to alter itself due to the opiate chemically. Whether it is you or a loved one, here are some red flags to be aware of.
Physical Signs of Opioid Abuse
Opioid abuse begins when an individual starts to take their prescribed medication more than the doctor has instructed. Abusing opiates over a long period will take a toll on the body. These reactions will become clear physical signs of opioid addiction to look out for in yourself or others.
A surplus of drowsiness is a common sign of misusing an opioid. The individual could be sluggish throughout the day. Sluggishness is partly due to the relaxing nature of the drug’s effects. Because opioids interfere with sleep cycles, your sleep habits can become irregular. And since your body feels tired and sleepy throughout the day, your exercise routine and other healthy habits will change.
Another point about how to tell if someone is on opiates is weight loss. If you notice a good friend of yours is rapidly losing weight, then there is a possibility they are abusing opioids. Using opiates can cause flu-like symptoms.
If you start to lose interest in personal hygiene, tell someone immediately. This is a widespread reaction to abusing opioids. If you have stopped showering regularly, brushing your hair, or changing clothes, seek your doctors’ opinion, as this is a clear sign you could be misusing the opiates. Your libido can also decrease over time.
Opioids often cause financial struggles because a portion of your paycheck is now going towards buying the drug. This can lead to stealing from friends or family members. Resorting to acts of theft can have severe consequences. Finally, perhaps the giant red flag of all is isolation. If you notice you begin to see fewer people or deliberately opt out of plans with friends, try to reach out to someone. Isolation means less accountability, which in turn means your problem can worsen unchecked.
Psychological Signs of Opioid Addiction
Continued abuse of an opioid will lead to an addiction. The opioid will begin to interfere with every aspect of your life. Thankfully the changes you or a loved one will experience can be identified as physical signs of opioid addiction. Hopefully, this will motivate you to seek treatment and get on the road to recovery.
Everyday use of an opioid teaches your brain to latch on to the substance and crave it. A physical sign of being addicted to an opioid is being extremely tired and depressed when you are not high. Your brain now requires the opioid in order to feel happy because it has lowered its natural production of dopamine and endorphins. This leads you to up your dosage just to avoid feeling sad. It also coincides with a loss of interest in activities that previously brought you pleasure.
Are You Addicted?
Emotions and sleep patterns are tied to physical signs of addiction. If you notice a friend or family member sleeping at odd hours or not at all, that is the first red flag. The individual who is addicted to the opiate can also have drastic mood swings. They might be nervous or anxious one moment, then cranky the next. Sometimes manic behavior occurs such as being overly energetic and talking very fast without fully making sense.
Similar to the beginning cycles of opioid abuse, opioid addiction also involves poor hygiene habits. Changing clothes and bathing will fall by the wayside. Everything about the person will become unkempt. This leads to issues both personal and professional and regarding the latter, the addicted individual also tends to begin missing appointments or deadlines. Many addicts eventually lose their jobs altogether. From here it is a short road to trouble with the law or homelessness.
These are all clear signs on how to tell if someone is on opiates and if they are addicted to them. If you notice a family member, friend, or co-worker behaving in a similar fashion, reach out and talk to them. Let them know that you are available to hear them out and help if you can. If you are experiencing any of these effects, find help. There is a high chance you have become addicted to your opioid prescription. Reach out to our professionals for more guidance.
Continued Exposure to Opioids
If you or a friend are addicted to opioids, the list of symptoms becomes quite long. Continued exposure to the drug can lead to more than the listed physical signs from above. You can also experience more physical, behavioral, and psychological symptoms.
Everyday use of opioids affects your mental state: it is common to have trouble with decision-making. The choices you make might make sense to you, but not to a healthy person. Opioids also affect coordination: you might stumble and find it difficult to walk. There is even the risk of slurred speech. If you realize you are experiencing these symptoms seek professional help.
While misusing an opioid, you can become extremely irritable. A physical sign of opioid addiction is that everything little thing bothers you. Sounds may be louder, tones are sharper, and you seem to be in a constant state of agitation. Individuals who are addicted to an opiate are also more prone to anxiety attacks. It is a really scary place to be!
Along with irregular eating habits, opioid addiction can also cause constipation or nausea. This further upsets your eating habits to the point of weight loss or random food cravings. Vomiting is a possibility as well.
Finally, addiction can cause your breathing to become quite slow or shallow. This is the biggest red flag because it is also a sign of a potential overdose. Other physical signs of opioid overdose include the inability to talk, blue skin, and dark-colored lips.
Signs of Withdrawal
If you have come to the realization that you are misusing your prescription opioids, your first impulse may be to stop immediately but don’t do it. It is dangerous to stop opioid medications without a doctor’s help. Your body has grown used to this drug and will need medical assistance to mitigate the withdrawal symptoms. These can be fatal if left unchecked.
Side effects of opioid withdrawal include:
- Drug cravings
- Abdominal pain
- Tremors (shaking)
- Feeling cold
According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, an opioid withdrawal cycle can last anywhere from three to 10 days. Fortunately, you do not have to do this on your own. You can safely stop taking the opiate with your doctor’s help. The most effective way to heal is through treatment that is supervised medically either by a doctor or a rehabilitation center. Support from family and friends also encourages the healing process.
There are a number of medications specifically designed to ease withdrawals. Your doctor or treatment center might give you methadone and/or buprenorphine. Under supervision, these can help ease the withdrawal symptoms and support the first stage of sobriety. Another medication called clonidine will help reduce your anxiety during the withdrawal period. It can provide you comfort as your body is detoxing by decreasing your abdominal pain and aches as well. If you need assistance with withdrawal contact our facility today. Our experts will walk you through the process of getting through this difficult time. DO not hesitate. Call us today, and we can help you lead a better life tomorrow.
The physical signs of opioid addiction are the warning bells for you to get help. You are not a bad person. Addiction is a nasty business. Chemicals rewire your brain, your tolerance grows, and you become dependent. It is a sad vicious circle that originated from a prescription.
Finally, with help in treatment, you will receive corrective medications and psychosocial treatments to help heal you. You will benefit from information on how your brain develops the addiction. You will learn about the biological effects of the drug on the brain and start to regain control of your life. As you detox your body and brain, your dependency on the opioid will decrease within weeks. With guidance, you will fight your addiction by facing the environmental, physical, and psychological aspects that fed into it. It is never too late to seek help. Call us today for yourself or a loved one.
Written by Julia Bashaw